Tag Archives: Word Spy

Word Watch: Track-a-holism

Athletic people sharing workout data from their smartwatches.

Credit: Viacheslav Iakobchuk/Adobe Stock

Track-a-holism (or trackaholism, whose adherents or victims are known as track-a-holics or trackaholics) is the latest addition to the lexicon noted by Canada’s Word Spy, Paul McFedries.

The term – meaning “a compulsion to monitor one’s health and fitness metrics, particularly those generated by apps and electronic devices – has a fairly recent history, with McFedries noting the earliest usage in 2014.

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Word Watch: verbicaine

Group of surgeons at work operating in surgical theatre

Credit: megaflopp/Adobe Stock

Canadian Word Spy Paul McFedries has flagged”verbicaine” as a new term that has entered the medical lexicon.

It comes from “verbal” and “-caine” (anesthetic), and refers to “soothing words used to calm or distract a patient who is awake during a surgical procedure.”

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Word Watch: almost alcoholic

Credit: Ahileos

Credit: Ahileos

Tip o’ the hat once again to Paul McFedries, Canada’s Word Spy for noting the rise in the use of ‘almost alcoholic.’

He defines the term as “a person who exhibits some of the symptoms or behaviors associated with alcoholism, but who is not a full-blown alcoholic.”

He cites the earliest use in a New York Daily News story in which then-U.S. President George W. Bush was described by an adviser “a recovering alcoholic or almost-alcoholic,” which led him to “really [believe] in the power of faith to get you through times of trouble.” Continue reading →

Word Watch: fruitloopery

Credit: drjohn08318

Credit: drjohn08318

Fruitloopery — the improper or ignorant use of scientific or technical language to make a false or impossible claim seem more believable — is the latest addition to the lexicon by Canada’s Word Spy, Paul McFedries.

It comes from the use of the term “fruit loop” as a “whimsical way of describing someone who is a bit crazy, scatterbrained, or weird,” which has been used in that sense since at least 1982, McFedries wrote on his WordSpy website.  McFedries says it  “likely” comes from the Kellogg’s cereal  Froot Loops (but I ask you: where else would it have come from?), with a boost from associations with the word loopy, meaning crazy or bizarre. Continue reading →

Word Watch: Ebolaphobia

Credit: gustavofrazao

Credit: gustavofrazao

Canada’s Word Spy Paul McFedries has flagged “Ebolaphobia” as a new entry to the lexicon.

Perhaps no surprise there, given the dominance of Ebola in the news, but what’s strange about this entrant is that it’s practically brand new. Like the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary, McFedries logs citations for the words he spies — and in this case, the earliest citation is mere months ago.

According to McFedries, the first use was on 31 July on the website HPANWO Voice which is described as a forum for the HPANWO to review global news and trends. Continue reading →

Word Watch: Katie Couric effect

Colonscopia esame colon apparato digerenteWhen TV host Katie Couric had a live, on-air colonoscopy on the Today Show in 2000, and campaigned for colon cancer screening after the death of her husband two years before that, there was a pronounced increase in colonoscopies among Americans termed the “Katie Couric effect.”
The term was first used in 2002, but was resurrected in June in the Washington Post and last year in the New York Times.

Now, Canadian Word Spy Paul McFedries, who tracks new words and phrases as they enter the language, has added “Kate Couric effect” (also simply “Couric effect”) on his Word Spy website.~TM

 

 

 

Word Watch: bikini medicine

11949849661308840073female_symbol_dan_gerhar_01.svg.hiCanada’s “word spy” Paul McFedries has been busy this week, posting yet another medically-related new phrase: “bikini medicine.”

McFedries defines this as “medical practice, research, and funding that focuses solely on the female breasts and reproductive system.” Continue reading →

Word Watch: sitting disease

boyThis week, Canadian word-watcher (actually, “word spy”) Paul McFedries flagged “sitting disease” as a new phrase that has entered the lexicon.

“Well, of course,” you may say, “the news has been full of ‘sitting disease’ in the last few weeks.”

However, McFedries found the earliest use of the phrase in a USA Today article from January 2009.~TM

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